As a business owner, optimizing productivity while keeping costs is a challenge—not to mention the responsibility of managing complex technology infrastructure and support.
In this article, we discuss the meaning of managed services and explain how partnering with a trusted managed services provider can let you offload core operational responsibilities, leaving you and your internal teams to focus on innovation and business growth.
What Are Managed Services?
Managed Services is the outsourcing of specific business functions or IT operations to a third-party service provider.
In this arrangement, the service provider takes responsibility for the ongoing management, monitoring, and support of the specified services, allowing the client organization to focus on its core business activities.
Types of Managed Service Offerings
Managed services can cover a wide range of areas. Depending on your business needs, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) offers the following:
1. IT Infrastructure
This includes the management of an organization’s IT infrastructure, such as:
- Storage systems
- Networking equipment
- Data centers
Here the service provider handles tasks like hardware provisioning, configuration, monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
2. Security Services
This involves outsourcing security functions to a specialized provider. The service provider may offer services like:
- Real-time threat monitoring
- Intrusion detection and prevention
- Vulnerability assessments
- Security audits
- Firewall management
- Incident response
3. Cloud Services
Many organizations utilize cloud computing for their infrastructure needs. This type of managed service involves the management and optimization of cloud-based resources, including:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
The provider handles tasks like provisioning, monitoring, security, backups, and scaling of cloud resources.
4. Network Services
This encompasses the management of an organization’s network infrastructure, including:
- Wireless access points
The service provider ensures network availability, performance optimization, security, and troubleshooting.
5. Database Services
Database management is critical for storing, organizing, and retrieving data efficiently. Managed database service provides:
- Database installation
- Backup and recovery
- Performance tuning
- Security management
- Data replication
Service providers can manage and support specific software applications or entire application portfolios, including tasks like:
- Bug fixes
- Performance monitoring
- User support
7. Backup and Disaster Recovery
This involves the regular backup, replication, and recovery of critical data and systems to ensure business continuity in case of data loss or catastrophic events. The service provider handles:
- Data backups
- Disaster recovery planning
8. Desktop and End-User
This encompasses providing technical support and assistance to end-users within an organization. It includes services like:
- Desktop/laptop setup and management
- Software installations and updates
- Help desk support
9. Print Services
This involves the outsourcing of print infrastructure and document management. The service provider manages these things to enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness:
- Print devices
- Document workflow optimization
10. Unified Communications
This includes managing and supporting communication and collaboration tools such as:
- VoIP systems
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging
- Collaboration platforms
The provider ensures reliable communication channels and assists with configuration, troubleshooting, and user support.
How Does Managed Services Benefit You?
With the many choices of managed services come multiple benefits if you employ these services. These include the following:
1. Expertise and Specialization
MSPs specialize and possess deep knowledge and expertise in these domains, allowing them to deliver services more efficiently and effectively than a client could achieve on its own.
2. Cost-Saving Procedures
Instead of hiring and maintaining an in-house team, which requires salaries, benefits, training, and infrastructure, you can leverage the resources and expertise of an MSP for a predictable monthly fee. This eliminates the need for large upfront investments and allows you to allocate resources more efficiently.
3. Scalability and Flexibility
As your business grows or experiences fluctuations in demand, an MSP can quickly adjust its services to accommodate the changes. They can scale up or downgrade resources, provide additional support during peak periods, and help you stay agile in a rapidly changing business environment.
4. Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance
MSPs typically provide proactive monitoring of your systems, networks, and infrastructure. They can detect and resolve issues before they impact your operations, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. This proactive approach helps prevent major disruptions and ensures your IT environment runs smoothly.
5. Enhanced Security
Cybersecurity threats are a significant concern for every business. MSPs focus on implementing robust security measures to protect your data, systems, and networks. They employ advanced technologies, implement best practices, and stay updated with the latest security threats and trends to keep your business secure.
6. Focus on Core Business
By outsourcing IT management to an MSP, you can free up your internal resources and focus on core business activities.
Instead of spending time and effort on routine IT tasks, you can concentrate on strategic initiatives, innovation, and improving customer experience. This allows you to align your time and resources with your core competencies and business goals.
7. Improved Reliability and Performance
MSPs ensure that your systems and infrastructure are reliable and perform optimally, guaranteeing service level agreements (SLAs) uptime, response times, and performance. This reliability and performance can enhance user satisfaction, increase productivity, and contribute to the overall success of your business.
8. Access to Advanced Technologies
MSPs keep up with the latest advancements in technology. They have access to cutting-edge tools, software, and infrastructure that may otherwise be costly or challenging to implement in-house. By leveraging these advanced technologies through an MSP, you can gain a competitive edge and drive innovation within your organization.
Key factors to consider when selecting an MSP
1. Responsiveness and Support
MSPs should be able to explain technical concepts clearly and understandably without excessive jargon.
Look for a provider that provides status updates on ongoing projects, offers multiple channels of communication, and has defined response times and service-level agreements (SLAs) to ensure your concerns are addressed on time.
2. Industry Knowledge
A good MSP should understand your industry and the unique challenges you face. They should know the compliance requirements, regulations, and best practices relevant to your sector. Industry-specific knowledge allows them to provide tailored solutions and insights to help your business succeed.
3. Proactive Approach
Look for an MSP that actively monitors your systems, identifies potential issues, and takes preventive measures to minimize disruptions. Proactive monitoring and maintenance can help prevent costly downtime and ensure the smooth operation of your technology infrastructure.
4. Security Focus
Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of any IT infrastructure. Ensure that the MSP strongly focuses on security and follows industry best practices. They should have robust security measures in place, including:
- Intrusion detection systems
- Data encryption
- Regular security audits
The MSP should also stay up to date with the latest security threats and provide recommendations to protect your systems and data.
5. Proven Track Record
Consider the MSP’s reputation and experience in the industry. Look for the following to assess their track record:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
Additionally, check if they have experience working with businesses similar to yours in size, industry, or technology requirements.
UNLOCK YOUR BUSINESS’S FULL POTENTIAL WITH THE HELP OF A PROVEN MSP
If you’re seeking minor updates or end-to-end solutions, Strategic Systems Managed Solutions is here to offer you a comprehensive suite of services tailored to your needs.
With our highly experienced team of project managers, you’ll get an expert guide on your Statement of Work, ensuring timely delivery and exceptional customer satisfaction using industry best practices.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!